Having served two terms as the elected States Attorney for Prince George’s County, Maryland, Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. recognized the importance of social justice issues concerning education, justice, ethical leadership, and civic responsibility. During his nearly twenty-year tenure as an Article III Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Judge Williams witnessed the ways in which mandatory-minimum sentencing has contributed to mass incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. In an effort to address this and similar injustices within our legal, social, and political institutions, Judge Williams retired his appointment and founded The Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization in 2013.
After entering into a partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2016, the Judge AW Center was (re)established under the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences within the Department of African American Studies. As Founder & Executive Director of the Judge AW Center at the University of Maryland, Judge Williams continues to teach and advocate for criminal justice reforms, including the urgent need for fundamental changes in the pattern and practice of policing as evidenced by the global protest movement spearheaded by Black Lives Matter in 2020, and has called for federal and state legislators to “review and rethink the impact of mandatory-minimum penalties.”
The Center is dependent on the generosity of its donors and launches its own campaign to seek operational and program funding. Please contact Karen Bond at kybond [at] umd.edu if you are interested in supporting the Center's growth and development.